I’m taking advantage of being virtually snowed-in to do a bit of a “what I’m up to” post. Blog posts seem increasingly difficult to produce in the 2010s, I think largely because we can update so much more efficiently with things like Twitter. But I’ve got a lot of projects in the works at the moment so it could be interesting to pull them all together here – and there are a few poetry things you might like to submit to as well.
The first bit of news is that I’ve had a poem accepted for the Emma Press anthology of British Kings & Queens! This will be an anthology of children’s poetry looking to paint a timeline of British monarchy. My poem is about the first and only King ever to reign over Wales. It should be out later this year.
While we’re on the subject of the Emma Press, I recently had a rejection for a poem I sent to them for an anthology of children’s poetry about dinosaurs. BUT – they’ve kindly offered me the opportunity of writing something else, as a sort of commission for the book. So I’m going to have a sit down and a think about that and hopefully come up with something up to scratch.
Now, one of the main things I’ve been working on recently is a series of poems inspired by classic TV crime show and Angela Lansbury vehicle Murder, She Wrote. The seed of this project came from me wanting to try my hand at the cut-up technique. Basically you take a chunk of text, cut each word out and then re-assemble to form something new. For the last few weeks I’ve been taking a synopsis for each episode of the show from the IMDB and splicing it together with song lyrics to create weird new versions of the classic episodes.
I’ve been working with Abject Objects – otherwise known as my friend Alex Stevens – a Cardiff-based artist. For each cut-up poem I make he takes an assortment of imagery, usually involving Jessica Fletcher, and creates a collage to accompany the episode. I post one in the Experiments section of my website per day. The idea is to complete the whole first season of the show. We’d like to maybe do a few more seasons after that, but we’re wary of stretching the joke too thinly, so to speak. Time will tell...
Another thing I’ve been working on is a series of visual poems based around Sonic the Hedgehog and Scott Walker. I’ve talked about the inspiration for this idea elsewhere on the site, but this is basically a melding of two worlds – one brightly coloured and pixel-cute, the other gloomy and disturbed. So far I’ve tried a few collage pieces, and I’m currently working on a “painting poem”, which will see poetry applied to this moody canvas. The poem itself will be a kind of rant from Dr Robotnik/ Eggman, which turns the tables and paints Sonic as the true villain for continually causing extreme amounts of damage to the property of a doctor. I’m not sure how many paintings there will be yet, but I’m hoping that once the series is finished I can find a good home for it.
Looking ahead, and back to the Emma Press. They’ve just put out a call for submissions on the theme of the Future. This is an exciting theme for me and has a lot of scope. The editors are always open to imagination and creativity and that’s a huge draw for me as someone who just can’t muster the enthusiasm to write poetry about “real” things. You can read all about the submissions call here.
Lastly, Sidekick Books also have a new submissions call for the next instalment in their Headbooks series. This one is for a book around the theme of robots, AI and digital consciousness. It will be a visual book – so plenty of exciting juxtapositions of imagery and language are on the cards. I had a few poems featured in the first anthology in this series, Aquanauts, and it was exciting to try my hand at something new as I’d never made a visual poem before. The info for the submissions call is here.
That’s bringing things up to date for now. If you’re interested, keep a lookout on the Experiments page for new work and new episodes of Murder, She Wrote in poetry cut-ups!